MEF University was established in 2012 by the İbrahim Arıkan Educational and Scientific Research Support Foundation as a continuation of the contribution of MEF Educational Institutions to the quality and internationalization of Turkish education system at the tertiary level. The mission of MEF University is to graduate internationally competitive, forward-thinking students and to bring together research-oriented, leading scholars who will make globally significant contribution to science and technology. At the pedagogical side, MEF will be the first university worldwide to use the technology-enhanced Flipped Learning method across the university. MEF University's strategy for global engagement is based on the concept of transnational education and multidimensionality.
All academic programs at MEF University have been designed in accordance to the requirements of the Bologna Process. The ECTS is the internal and only credit allocation system. For each academic program, the learning outcomes been defined in accordance to the European and Turkish national Qualification Frameworks and in strict adherence to international accreditation standards, e.g. ABET for engineering, AACSB and EQUIS in business education. It is the aim of MEF University to have all of its academic programs internationally accredited. Furthermore, all program objectives; outcomes and curriculum structures have been benchmarked to the top global institutions in the respective field.
MEF University's academic information system has readiness for all of the tools of credit transfer and recognition, from the course catalogue through Learning Agreements, Transcripts of Records to Recognition Documents to the Diploma Supplement. The DS will be issued automatically and free-of-charge in English to MEF student upon graduation. MEF University is exceptionally well positioned for mobility actions and mobile participants with its strong internationalization at home. All academic programs apart from Law are taught 100% in English (Law is 30% in English) and 50% of the faculty is envisioned to be international.
For MEF University, the quality and sustainability of mobility partnerships is vital. In the partner selection, compatibility of educational components is the first factor. Although most of prospective partners are selected among institutions teaching in English, we also actively encourage students with other language competences to seek mobility periods in other language environments and promote multilingualism. Support services offered by the prospective partners are an important consideration. Whether it is simply having information easily available, accommodation services, orientation program, a buddy-student network, or a mentor for staff mobility, these determine the overall mobility experience and give indication on the quality and reliability of the partner.
MEF University's global engagement is balanced between EU and non-EU elements. EU countries will always be popular mobility destinations for Turkish students with their relative proximity and familiarity. North American exchanges provide study experiences at some of the world top universities. The importance of emerging high-tech economies in Asia fosters creating links to that direction. With its role in the region, there is demand from the neighboring countries to establish partnership in Turkey. We expect 50% of the mobility participants to favor EU countries, the rest being equally divided among North America, Asia and Middle East.
MEF University is opening for teaching in 2014 with first cycle programs. Other cycles will be added in later years. Therefore, in the initial round of partner search, the emphasis has been in the first cycle demand. However, as it is explained below, MEF University has already started preparation for 3+2 double degree programs, including both first and second cycle. In the mid-horizon, it is planned to have mobility activities at all levels. Both students and staff will be included, but with the expectation that especially for the academic staff, cooperation projects might appear more attractive than (short-term) mobility. MEF University has a required internship component with a credit value in all of its programs (apart from Law), thus training mobility becoming equally important to study mobility.
Going well beyond traditional mobilities towards truly transnational education, MEF University has started working on 3+2 double degree programs with leading universities in all of its program areas. The prospective partner institutions have been selected on the basis of academic quality, fit of program profiles and geographic balance. The reason for emphasis 3+2 double degrees is the fact that employers want to see a longer period of stay in another country, and a graduate degree, preferably from a country other than the home country, of the future job applicant. The 3+2 programs offer MEF students these two crucial factors that make our graduates truly competitive at both the national and international level.
Apart from mobility activities, MEF University's global engagement includes, but is not restricted to, strategic partnerships, knowledge alliances, capacity building and participation in policy reform. The global engagement itself has been defined as geographically balanced and consisting on models and partnerships that are sustainable. The three most visible cooperation angles at MEF University are strategic partnerships for joint programs (especially 3+2), development of study modes and educational resources for its Flipped Classroom pedagogical method, and interaction with enterprises for knowledge alliances. Established as a research institution, international research collaboration is an essentiality.
In the establishment of joint program, the IO has taken the leading role. For the alternative study modes and resources (especially online and other electronic formats), the faculties are working together with Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and getting support from global partners both from HEIs and enterprises. Knowledge alliances are best known for being part of business education, but the distinguishing character of the education model at MEF is that they are used in across the programs, from Engineering to Education. For example, in the Faculty of Education, it is the (primary and secondary) school that is considered to be the "university". MEF University is exceptionally well positioned for sector skills knowledge alliances with its close contacts with industry and enterprises through the conglomerate proving the endowment for the university, and its prime location in Maslak, the finance and business center of Istanbul on its European side.  Sector skills knowledge alliances are directly linked to the employability of the graduates, so in creation of them, the academic programs work together with the Career Center. Research collaboration we see faculty-driven. A Vice-Rector for Research and Technology has been appointed, and he will be in charge of coordinating the efforts in this aspect.
MEF University was established to be an accessible institution to a broad cross-section of society. As of 2014, the scholarship policy in form of tuition waivers covers all of the students, and the average scholarship percentage is 65%. The non-discriminatory policy guarantees equal access to education and employment. MEF University is a research university with a budget allocation to that end. The office of the Vice-President for Research and Technology coordinates and supports efforts of international projects and other means of outside funding. Employability of its graduates is of utmost importance to MEF University. Sector specific skills are being developed through alliances with enterprises and required traineeships, both of which fall under Erasmus+. The adopted teaching and learning method of MEF University, Flipped Classroom, exploits the transformational benefits of information technology. We also hope to form strategic partnerships for the purpose creating alternative study modes and resources. The academic leadership of MEF University encourages mobility and has designed the academic structure and procedures accordingly. The program learning outcomes have been determined according to European and Turkish national Qualifications Frameworks, the learning mobility is build in the curricula, internship is a required element, and for both study and training credit value is fully recognized. The ECTS is the internal and only credit system, and Learning Agreements, Transcripts of Records, Recognition Documents and Diploma Supplement are all in use. The original course codes, names and credits at the receiving institution and the educational components replaced at home are all clearly indicated on MEF transcripts and DS. Our target is to have one-third of our students participate in mobility, and in the long run, offer all of our staff teaching or training mobility at least once.
MEF University was established to be a research institution with a groundbreaking approach in education with its Flipped Classroom model. The interaction with business is ensured by the required projects and internships, and fostered by the close linkage to real sector through the conglomerate behind the endowment for the university. The mission statement of MEF University refers to innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, and we hope to benefit from the action lines of Erasmus+ to bring about cooperation and knowledge transfer to that effect, addition to diversity of strategic choices and alternative sources of funding.